Auburn is a Purple Heart City

Auburn on Monday picked up a new title — Purple Heart City.

In so doing, Auburn became one of the communities throughout the country known for their strong commitment to veterans and for having a significant number of residents who have received the Purple Heart.

City Attorney Dan Heid said recently that the idea is to give additional recognition to Auburn residents who have received the honor.

"We would be in a growing group of cities that are doing this," Heid said.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart bestows the honor. Chartered by Congress in 1958, the order is composed of military men and women who received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds suffered in combat. According to that group, the award dates to the Revolutionary War, when it was called the Badge of Military Merit. It has awarded more than 1.7 million Purple Hearts.

"The Purple Heart was first awarded by President Washington, and it was the first award available for the common soldier," Councilman Bill Peloza, a veteran and a member of VFW 1741 in Auburn, said at Monday's council meeting. "The action of declaring the City to be a Purple Heart City is our way of giving further recognition to citizens killed or injured in combat. We have several Purple Heart recipients in the VFW, and we honor them, dearly."

Heid said the designation does not impose any standards on the communities that carry it.

"It's just a recognition, talking about the folks who fought for our defense, whether they live in the city or not, and there are people here from Auburn who have Purple Hearts. There's no standards, no requirements. It's just an expression of appreciation," Heid said.

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